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Volts-wagen: When the 'people’s car' goes electric, you know it’s time to get plugged in
Thursday, May 23, 2019 - 12:00 PM
For the longest time, electric vehicles seemed destined to remain a minority sport. Lightning-fast playthings of the rich and famous – or quirky garage projects of wide-eyed scientists. But in the last year or two all of that’s changed. At motor shows and car dealerships the world over, “EVs” are gliding quietly from the fringes to the centre stage. Breakthroughs in technology have led to a steady increase in the variety of models available, alongside a pocket-pleasing drop in prices. Major public and private investment has given rise to a network of electric charging points that covers much of Europe, Ireland included. And last but not least – the word is spreading that EVs are thrilling to drive. A sure sign that electric cars are here to stay and are here for everybody is Volkswagen’s big, bold and long-term commitment to electric mobility earlier this year. Volkswagen is Ireland’s number one car brand, and it’s not called the “people’s car” for nothing. In the 75 or so years since the beloved Beetle swept the world, VW have had a finger on the pulse of what drivers want and a reliable ability to deliver. In the last few years, they’ve read the road ahead cleverly with an impressive family of SUVs. And in recent months they’ve hit the sweet spot again, unveiling a stunning line-up of brand new all-electric models – the ID. range – which will ramp up into production one model at a time, over the next three years and beyond. Reservations for the first model are already being accepted at volkswagen.ie. But enough about the future. Because – with a quiet modesty typical of the German marque – VW already has one of the most appealing all-electric vehicles around, out and about on Irish roads. You’ve probably seen it, admired it and wanted it – without knowing that it was an electric car you were eyeing up. We’re talking of course about the all electric e-Golf. VW’s thinking here is simple. Before the ID. range hits, let’s not compromise with a kind of awkward halfway-house between the car designs of today and those of tomorrow. Instead, let’s take the world’s most enduringly popular car, the Golf, and craft a perfect electric version. And the e-Golf Executive Edition is that version with bells on. Powerful, impeccably specced and bewilderingly economical, the e-Golf is that typical VW paradox – sensible and magical in the very same moment.
Forget the environmental credentials for a moment, and the economical benefits too. The driving experience alone is enough to convince even the most fumed up petrol-head that the future is all electric, and the future is all good. The sensible bit comes from all those other considerations. For starters you’ve got a whole lot of nothing: zero emissions. 0% benefit-in-kind (making this e-Golf a no-brainer for the company car market). And at time of going to press, 0% PCP finance. Government incentives wipe another €10,000 or so off the tag. And all of that is before you chuck in the annual savings on road tax and the daily savings on fuel. When you add it all up, even the sensible bits are kind of magic. So, what’s stopping you? Well instead of leaving that question hanging there rhetorically, we thought we’d have a stab at answering it – and then answering those answers. Here are three of the most common reasons people give for not going electric “just yet”. And three rock-solid rebuttals, that suggest the time to plug in is truly upon us. 1. It’ll run out of battery in the middle of nowhere. Maybe… if you commute from Paris to Petersburg. But with today’s batteries, typical Irish journeys are worry-free. And with new charge points popping up all the time, even those of us geeks who like to keep the battery up near the 100% mark are well catered for. 2. They’re still a bit pricey. The on-the-road price of electric cars is fast approaching par with petrol and diesel cars. And once they’re on the road, EVs win hands down. They are far cheaper to run, and to tax. Their clean-living engines are less costly to keep healthy. And their resale value is rising steadily (while with PCP finance, resale value isn’t as much of a concern anyway). 3. The driving experience just won’t be the same. There’s no arguing with that one… because driving electric is so thrilling you will never look back. If you don’t believe that, do one of the following things. Remember the last time you played Scalextric (and then imagine yourself inside that little car). Or watch one of the countless YouTube videos of sceptical people literally whooping with delight the first time they accelerate in an EV. Or (and this is our recommendation) contact your local Volkswagen dealer to arrange a test drive of the exciting e-Golf. Or, for those of you who are really determined to be the last to this party – wait a few years, until Volkswagen EVs are so ubiquitous that you won’t be able to avoid the thrill of being in one. And then, facepalm with regret that you didn’t give it a spin sooner. For more info on the e-Golf and to book your test drive click here.